Alcohol Affects Digestive System, Unfolding Its True Side

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Have you observed how others like to refill their glasses at parties? Have you ever left half of your drink? However, many patients come to their GI doctors to know how many drinks are permitted, and if a small glass of alcohol is allowed on the weekend with dinner. Although no single-size solution is available for all, it's essential to present the truth about alcohol and intestinal health to help you take the pros and cons into account.

Ultimately, the digestive system of your body is incapable of treating large quantities of alcohol. The gastroenterologists in OKC are concerned about alcohol use as this affects different parts of the gastrointestinal tract. Therefore, you should educate yourself to make the right choice.

If you drink alcohol, it passes into the stomach that has alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH), the in-built defense of the body against alcohol molecules. Age, gender and other factors decide the efficiency of alcohol metabolization. ADH is present in our liver to filter out and break down your bloodstream alcohol.

Alcohol molecules are tiny and pass through intestinal walls and into the bloodstream easily, where the alcohol goes straight to your brain! Carbonated drinks are metabolized quickly. The alcohol is even less resistant to the intestine in an empty stomach. That is why the stomach has lower alcohol absorption rate after having a meal.

While alcohol molecules can break down in your stomach, you excrete a little alcohol through your urine, breathing and sweat. However, the ADH neutralizes most of the consumed alcohol. On average, your body takes one hour to break down an alcoholic beverage. However, it's not a rule – it can often take hours to metabolize by your liver.

According to our gastroenterologist in Edmond, OK, that familiar burning caused by alcohol is actually the feeling as it attacks the lining and muscles of the stomach and esophagus. Drinking in a large amount can also cause ulcers, vomiting and nausea and further damage to your intestines. Take a look at the details to ease your decision on your alcohol intake even if you currently do not have gastrointestinal concerns.

You must know that that alcohol inhibits the ability of your gut to absorb vital nutrients. Regular alcohol intake in a large amount reduces digestive enzymes into your digestive tract and pancreas. These enzymes oxidize the alcohol, break it for extra energy and eliminate unwanted components from the body.

Without these enzymes, the body cannot absorb the vitamins and minerals necessary for various functions. To make matters worse, alcohol has an inflammatory effect in the intestines. Moreover, it may affect the intestinal permeability, leave toxins and other waste to the intestinal wall and the bloodstream. These conditions can cause severe discomfort and pain to the patient.

Colon Cancer Risks

In 2012, the International Cancer Research Agency assessed ethanol as a group 1 carcinogen in alcoholic beverages. While alcohol is a contributing cause of liver and breast cancer, your digestive system allows for heavy consumption of alcohol that can increase risks of mouth, throat, and bowel cancer as well as colon and rectum.

While drinking alcohol, it comes into direct contact with the epithelial surface of mouth and throat. Four or more drinks a day significantly increases the chances of gastrointestinal cancer development. According to different survey reports and gastroenterologists in OKC, this is the third largest cancer type in the U.S.

Symptoms of Colon Cancer

  • Bleeding from rectum

  • Blood in stool

  • Cramps in abdomen

  • Changed bowel habits

  • Change in stool consistency

Moderately, men are more risk-prone than women because the hormone differences causes our bodies to break down the alcohol differently.

However, if you are in need of gastroenterologist in OKC or Edmond, OK, come to Digestive Disease Specialists, Inc. to guide you right, help you combat the colon problems, and prevent colon cancer.

Disclaimer: This blog content does not offer a doctor's advice and creates no relationship between any patient and care provider.